Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Butterworth) to the Secretary of State
Subject: British Attitude With Respect to Aerial Bombardment of Shanghai and Action by the Chinese Government to Close the Chinese Ports Now Under Communist Control.
Attached hereto are copies of two communications which the British Embassy has informally supplied the Department.
Tab A is a summary of Mr. Bevin’s protest to the Chinese Ambassador at London on June 21, 1949 in connection with the bombing in Shanghai of the British ship Anchises by Chinese Government planes. Mr. Bevin’s protest was, as will be noted, couched in strong terms.
Tab B outlines the British reply to the Chinese Government note-respecting the closing of Chinese ports now under Chinese Communist control. It may be noted that, whereas our reply (Tab C)27 merely states conditions under which, in our view, the closing of ports in question could be effected legally, the British reply goes much further in that it states (1) that the establishment of a blockade amounts to an assertion of belligerent rights, adding that no indication has been received that the Chinese National Government recognizes or is about to recognize the Chinese Communists as having belligerent status; (2) that according to information available to the British Government the Chinese Government does not have at its disposal armed forces to en able it to exercise a real and effective blockade and (3) that the British Government, on the basis of information presently available to it, is not prepared to respect the blockade.